This event was one of the series of five public Global Debates celebrating ten years of the Urban Age programme. The debates discussed five core themes that have been the focus of research and debate at the Urban Age since 2005. The event series was organised by LSE Cities and Deutsche Bank’s Alfred Herrhausen Society, in association with Guardian Cities.
Cities like New York, Rio de Janeiro and Mumbai are booming. Things seem to be going well for these cities. But who exactly is it going well for? Eminent urban sociologist Richard Sennett and author Suketu Mehta raised questions of identity, grounding and belonging in the contemporary city. By exploring the urban experiences and narratives of migrant communities and their inextricably linked connections with both their new and their home environment, this debate considered one of the greatest challenges for any city builder today: how do we form a community within these enormous, historically unprecedented, and continuously mobile agglomerations of people? Can we create cities and neighbourhoods which perhaps are not fully inclusive but at least are not exclusive to particular groups? How can we live better together in the 21st century city, these 10…20…60 million people living side-by-side, and on top of each other?